The battle between the “Fashion Police” writers and the show’s network E! is getting ugly.
About a month after 12 “Fashion Police” writers went on strike — seeking payment for allegedly unpaid regular and overtime hours totaling $1.5 million, according to Deadline — things are at a standstill.
The writers had planned a benefit show at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, CA for Wednesday, May 15 and one “Fashion Police” writer, Eliza Skinner, posted the below to Facebook days before the event:
E! bought 100 tickets to our benefit, we doubt they will show up, so COME OUT.
We suspect this is an attempt to make us look weak by keeping people from buying tickets, or by showing up and creating a hostile crowd.
It’s sold out online, but there will be plenty of tickets at the door if ONE HUNDRED E! EMPLOYEES don’t come. Please come – we’re fighting for comedy writers and cable writers in general! Plus, Bobcat Goldthwait is great!
According to the writers, a large portion of the tickets for the benefit (the proceeds of which are going to the “Fashion Police” writing staff) were reportedly bought by E! Vice President John Najarian and other E! executives, per The Hollywood Reporter.
E! president Suzanne Kolb wrote a letter to the “Fashion Police” writers on the morning of May 15, the day of the benefit show, which THR and Deadline obtained.
“I want to make it clear that E! is not anti-[Writer's Guilde Of America],” Kolb’s letter reads. “The WGA has convinced you that a strike is necessary in order to gain a union contract. But history at E! has shown that not to be true. You are actually losing paychecks because of the guild’s dislike of elections … This leads me to ask you, why strike over an election if you believe the vote will be in favor of representation? Please reconsider striking over something as democratic as an election. There will be no resolution to this matter without one.”
When the “Fashion Police” writers’ strike started on April 17, the WGA West said in a statement, “The election the Company is calling for is a well-known stalling tactic … By ignoring for weeks our repeated requests for negotiation of a fair deal, E! has forced us to vote with our feet.”
Kolb’s letter also stated: “Joan Rivers has been and remains emphatically supportive of you. And, despite what has been reported to the contrary, her company does not produce ‘Fashion Police’ nor set the compensation of E! Networks Productions’ writers. The personal attacks on Joan have been grossly unfair and inaccurate as the responsibility of the show lies on my shoulders, not hers.
During the strike, the “Fashion Police” writers made a Funny or Die video, joking about their boredom (and poor-dom). Check it out below:
Two more contestants are saying goodbye to “The Voice”: Vedo from Team Usher and Garrett Gardner from Team Shakira were eliminated.
This week, the choice was up to America and the judges could no longer save their team members. With Garrett and Vedo eliminated, newbie “Voice” coaches Shakira and Usher are down a competitor. Veteran “Voice” coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton both have three contestants still in the running.
Kris Thomas from Team Shakira was the first contestant to join the Top 10, then the Swon Brothers from Team Blake, Sarah Simmons from Team Adam, Josiah Hawley from Team Usher, Judith Hill from Team Adam, Danielle Bradbery from Team Blake, Michelle Chamuel from Team Usher, Amber Carrington from Team Adam, Holly Tucker from Team Blake and Sasha Allen from Team Shakira.
Before it was time for Garrett and Vedo to bid farewell to “The Voice,” there were some impressive performances. “Voice” mentors Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams sang “Blurred” along with T.I.; Blake Shelton and his team — Holly Tucker, the Swon Brothers and Danielle Bradbury — took on Brooks & Dunn’s “Play Something Country”; Lady Antebellum, featuring Team Adam mentor Hillary Scott, performed their song “Goodbye Town,” accompanied by Team Adam’s Amber Carrington, Judith Hill and Sarah Simmons; and finally, Adam Levine and his team performed The Cure’s “Love Song.”
Did “The Voice” voters get it right in sending Vedo and Garrett home? Who are you voting for? Sound off in the comments!
“The Voice” airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
Spoiler alert: That day was May 7, 2012… but first a quick history lesson.
Okay, I’m one of those folks who obsesses about the late 1960s and early 1970s, but this time it’s really important. Because today that is the rallying cry for any presidential scandal, that this one is “worse than Watergate.” But the Watergate break-in happened 41 years ago, which means that more than half of all Americans weren’t even born yet, so you can’t blame a lot of voters if they don’t know much about what Watergate and the related scandals of Richard Milhous Nixon were all about.
One of the biggest drivers of Watergate was the seemingly unending war in Vietnam. As opposition increased to a foreign war that ultimately killed 58,000 Americans, for goals that were murky at best, so did government paranoia. At the core of Watergate was a team of shady operatives that were nicknamed “the White House Plumbers” — because they went after news leaks… get it? In May 1969, after news reports about U.S. bombing activities in Cambodia, Nixon and his then-national security adviser Henry Kissinger enlisted J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI to wiretap journalists and national security aides.
Later, one of the worst governmental abuses occurred after whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg leaked the massive Pentagon Papers that exposed governmental lies about the conduct of the war in Vietnam. Nixon’s “Plumbers” broke into the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist to dig up dirt to discredit him. Here is what one of Nixon’s former aides, Egil Krogh, wrote about it in 2007:
The premise of our action was the strongly held view within certain precincts of the White House that the president and those functioning on his behalf could carry out illegal acts with impunity if they were convinced that the nation’s security demanded it. As President Nixon himself said to David Frost during an interview six years later, “When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.” To this day the implications of this statement are staggering.
No doubt. Luckily for America, not everyone agreed. Over the next couple of years, criminal charges against Ellsberg were tossed because of the government’s misconduct, and Nixon resigned facing certain impeachment over the activities of his Plumbers and the ensuing, elaborate cover-up. The nation mostly rejoiced. The system worked… for a while.
Flash forward to 2012. America had at that point been in an undefined “war on terror” for 11 years — the same amount of time from the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident that greatly expanded the Vietnam War to the 1975 fall of Saigon. Just as during the 1960s and early 1970s, this terror war had provided government with an excuse to greatly expand its domestic spying on American citizens — some of that through a law called the Patriot Act and some of it even more dubious, constitutionally.
Then, on May 7, 2012, the Associated Press published an article about the Obama administration’s conduct of its war in a country that we’d never declared war on (it was Cambodia in 1969, but Yemen in 2012) and Obama’s Justice Department — for reasons not yet fully known — went crazy over the leak. This, then, is a reminder of why history matters so much.
Because if we’re not careful… it repeats:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.
The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.
In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown, but more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.
The AP’s CEO said last night that “[t]here can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters” — and I could not agree with him more. This revelation is deeply troubling — and has the makings of a major scandal. Sure, you could try to mitigate it by noting, fairly, that accessing these phone records isn’t as bad as wiretapping. But that is small solace, indeed. There’s every reason to believe that Attorney General Eric Holder signed off on this unwarranted assault on the First Amendment, and if so, he ought to be canned (hasn’t he overstayed his welcome, anyway?). Also, you might try to excuse this as a one-off, an ill-advised but isolated incident.
Except that it’s not.
Since the day he took office, the Obama administration has undertaken an assault on government whistleblowers — people informing citizens of what their government doesn’t want them to know — that surpasses anything that Nixon or any other president has done. Since 2009, the Obama administration has brought espionage charges against six whistleblowers. And most of these whistleblowers have been criticizing that way that America conducts its neverending war of the 21st century. One, Thomas Drake, blew the whistle on the illegal warrantless wiretapping that began under George W. Bush. John Kiriakou dropped the dime on illegal U.S. torture — and was sent away to prison, even as the perpetrators of torture from Dick Cheney to John Yoo continue to walk freely among us.
Nixon had Daniel Ellsberg, and Obama has Bradley Manning of Wikileaks. Okay, so they didn’t break into the office of Manning’s psychiatrist, but they have detained Manning in a solitary confinement that a UN torture expert called “cruel, inhuman and degrading.” Do you feel better about that? Because I don’t. The war on whistleblowers, the treatment of Manning, and now this investigation of journalists are all hallmarks of a White House that promised transparency but has been one of the most secretive — all to the detriment of the public’s right to know.
Let’s be clear — this is about Obama… and it is about much, much more than Obama. It is yet another example of how the national security state that has dominated our political life since World War II has corrupted the American soul. It is exactly what Philadelphia’s own Benjamin Franklin tried to warn us about — trading liberty for security, and geting neither. To the conservatives reading this, who warn so much about big government running amok…here it is. To the liberals reading this, who thought that one man named Barack Obama could change the system, he couldn’t. Only we, the citizens, can truly change things.
Let’s work together. Let’s start by repealing the 2001 Authorization of the Use of Force, declare victory in what was formerly known as the war on terror, and resolve that never again will this nation enter into a perpetual and constitutionally dubious war. Let’s repeal the most egregious aspects of the USA Patriot Act, hold public hearings on the true extent that the U.S. government has spied on citizens without warrants — and then bring those practices to an end. And as today’s events made crystal clear, let’s make America a nation where journalists and other truth-tellers can write stories or reveal information that the government might not like…without fear of intrusion or reprisal. Ironically, many of those type of changes were supposed to happen after Nixon, after Vietnam But they either didn’t last, or they didn’t come at all.
If greater liberty comes from the latest revelations, Obama’s sins — however bad not not bad they may turn out to be — will not make things worse than Watergate. This time, it — the aftermath, anyway — will be better than Watergate.
The Bluth Banana Stand hit the streets of New York City on Monday, May 13. Fans lined up around the block to taste the happy — or maybe just sample a frozen banana — and celebrate the return of “Arrested Development.”
“Arrested Development” ran for three seasons on Fox from 2003-2006. Now 10 years after it first premiered, the dysfunctional Bluth family is back together for 15 new episodes on Netflix, which will all be available for instant viewing on the streaming service.
Liz Prentice, a self-described “Arrested Development” fan, said she waited in line for about an hour before the stand opened for business at 11 a.m. ET. “It’s good, I wish there were nuts on it, but it’s alright,” Prentice said of the frozen banana.
Sarah Ruba said the banana was delicious and made with “really good chocolate.” It was her first frozen banana. “It’s kind of genius,” she said.
Take a look at photos of the Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana Stand on 6th Avenue between 50th and 49th Street in the slideshow below. Be on the lookout for the banana stand around New York for the rest of the week. Follow @ArrestedDev for updates.
— Arrested Development (@arresteddev) May 13, 2013
“Arrested Development” returns on Sunday, May 26.
“Beverly Hills Cop” won’t air on CBS, but it’s not quite over for the TV reboot of the popular movie franchise.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, producers Sony and Paramount are exploring their options for finding a new home for the series. The pilot starred Brandon T. Jackson as Aaron Foley, the son of Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy). “The Shield” creator Shawn Ryan was behind the “Beverly Hills Cop” reboot that was considered a sure thing at CBS.
Murphy, who was an executive producer on the pilot, appeared in the “Beverly Hills Cop” reboot and was likely going to have a recurring role on the series. The cast also included Judge Reinhold and Christine Lahti.
Ryan shared this photo while making the pilot.
Beverly Hills Cop 2013… twitter.com/ShawnRyanTV/st…
— Shawn Ryan (@ShawnRyanTV) March 15, 2013
CBS ordered several new shows, including “Mom,” a comedy from Chuck Lorre starring Allison Janney and Anna Faris. The network also ordered “Intelligence” starring Josh Holloway, “Hostages” starring Toni Collette, “Crazy Ones” with Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar, Will Arnett’s “The Millers” and “We Are Men” starring Tony Shalhoub.
Get the details on what CBS and the other broadcast networks canceled by clicking through the slideshow below.
Hold the front page! The newspaper bosses are making concessions – and apparently they think we should be grateful. There seems to be no limit to their vanity, and their nerve.
We have a Royal Charter that has been approved – most unusually for any political action – by every single party in Parliament. It is backed by the mass of public opinion. And it is based on the recommendations of a year-long, judge-led public inquiry of remarkable thoroughness.
And now the people who run some of our big newspaper corporations – an industry condemned by that inquiry for ‘wreaking havoc in the lives of innocent people’ – say they have made a concession towards it.
They just do not get it. They have learned nothing and they assume that they can simply con us into believing they have a right to be unaccountable, a right to mark their own homework, a right to bend British politics to their will.
And what is this concession? They have agreed not to demand a veto on who will regulate them. That’s right. They have graciously offered not to handpick the members of the independent body whose job is to ensure that – in a total breach with the past – they actually observe their own industry code of standards.
On any sensible measure this concession might get them to square one in the understanding of the idea of independence, and no further.
But it’s worse than that, because actually what they are attempting here is to assert a veto over all press regulation. They are saying that if they don’t accept it, it can’t work, and so the British public has no choice but to accept press regulation on the terms laid down by press corporations themselves – the very companies whose disgraceful activities made the Leveson inquiry necessary.
And what is their plan? Their plan is an alternative Royal Charter that will deny the public access to justice through a cheap, quick arbitration system, that will enable editors to go on making their own rules and allow them to pick and choose which complaints to consider, that will enable papers to go on burying corrections on Page 94 – and above all that will not be independent, of the industry or of politicians. Unbelievably, they want to have serving politicians in charge.
In short, they want no change from the old PCC, although they may be ready to put different lipstick on the model this time.
We must call their bluff. They can not be allowed to go on abusing the British public as they have in the past, and they certainly should not be allowed to raise two fingers to the public, to Parliament and to the fair findings of the Leveson inquiry (at which their views were heard and taken account of).
The Royal Charter approved by Parliament is the way forward. Give it time, and everyone will see its great merits. It is democratic and it promises to provide effective, independent press self-regulation without any impact on freedom of expression. That is why the press barons hate it. And that is why we should all support it.
Is it any coincidence that the two adult sons of prominent journalists in the northern state of Chihuahua were gunned down last weekend? Even though officials say that it had nothing to do with their parents work it seems more likely than not that it does have a connection.
Luis Najera, a journalist who received threats from cartels says that this type of behavior sends a message to other journalists, “This is going to happen if you don’t follow the rules.” Najera left Ciudad Juarez when he realized the threats weren’t just aimed at him but also at his family. “You realize that it’s not just you in danger, your family is also in your danger.”
Investigative journalism is deteriorating quickly as reporters and their families end up dead at the hands of the criminals trying to control the message. Adella Navaro Bello, the general director of Zeta news magazine in Tijuana, continues to report the truth even though she has received death threats and several of her colleagues have been killed by the Arellano-Felix cartel.
Although the narco-trafficking is so powerful and terrible in Mexico and the Mexican society, we dare to do investigations on narco-trafficking, on organized crime, precisely because of the consequences. It would be wrong to say we aren’t fearful and irresponsible to tell you we don’t think about the dangers.
Carlos Lauria of Center to Protect Journalists (CPJ) states,
The drug war in Mexico is not only fought in the streets, it’s also a war for the control of information. There are indications now that the cartels are trying to influence the information agenda more wide spread.
Of course the life of a journalist doesn’t only affect the lives of that journalist’s family or the profession in which that person works but it affects many others. Since 2000, 13 journalists have disappeared and 75 have been killed — there also have been 23 bomb and hand grenade attacks against media, making Mexico one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.
Robert Giles, curator of the Nieman Journalism Lab (2000-2011) says, “Fear is one of the overriding characteristics affecting journalism in Mexico. The drug cartels have basically been conducting a war against journalists and others in the community.”
Others in the community include advocacy groups working to secure freedom of press in Mexico. In April, Article 19, discovered an anonymous note taped to the front door of their office in Mexico. The note contained a direct threat to Director, Dario Ramirez and the rest of the staff, expressing anger at Article 19′s work in protecting journalists.
The letter threatens:
Too much f***ing freedom. Let’s see how macho you are after you and your cunts are beaten up.
We are f***ing tired of you.
We are watching you closely so don’t think you are safe.
We will f*** you a**holes. We want to f*** you over.
You know who we are and that we can do it.
Article 19 has been working in Mexico since 2006, denouncing censorship and pressures against the media. In response to the note Ramirez said, “Despite this threat we will continue to defend and promote freedom of expression in Mexico.”
International News Safety Institue (INSI) released a safety advisory for journalists travelling and working in Mexico advises: “Journalists working in Mexico need to know which drug gang and/or which government officials are in charge when visiting a state. In some states the army can be trusted, in others not. Journalists need to gather all this information before travelling.”
The Mexican Senate’s approval of a constitutional amendment would make crimes against journalists a federal offense. The amendment passed unanimously on March 13 after three years of deliberation, and now requires ratification by a majority of Mexico’s 32 state legislatures. The constitutional amendment would allow federal authorities to investigate these crimes and punish the perpetrators. Most criminal offenses against journalists are committed by organized crime or by state or local authorities who operate in a climate of impunity.
Even though this amendment is a great piece of legislation for the Mexican people it will not protect the journalists in the sightlines of the cartels or the corrupt politicians who may not enforce it.
Adela Navarro Bello says defiantly,
We consider that no one, not even the corrupt government, nor the abusive government, nor the narcotraffickers, nor the kidnapers, nor the criminals have the right to quiet a medium that society is supporting. Liberty, solidarity and the strength that we have found in the society we are immersed in are what have allowed us to come out ahead.
Fox has picked up four dramas, including Greg Kinnear’s “Rake,” for the 2013-2014 season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Rake” is Kinnear’s broadcast TV debut, where he’ll play a “House”-esque criminal defense lawyer named Keegan Deane. Miranda Otto and John Ortiz will co-star. According to Deadline, “Rake” is being considered for a midseason launch in the vein of “The Following,” one of the few hits of last season. Sam Raimi directed the pilot.
Also picked up is “Sleepy Hollow,” a modern version of the headless horseman tale from Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci of “Fringe,” in which Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) travels through time and ends up partnering with a skeptical detective (Nicole Beharie) in the present day.
Another pilot hailing from “Fringe” producers is Joel Wyman’s futuristic “Almost Human,” starring “Star Trek’s” Karl Urban and “Common Law’s” Michael Ealy. Urban will play a human cop, while Ealy will play his android partner who starts experiencing human emotions. J.J. Abrams will produce.
Rounding out the pick-ups is “Gang Related,” in which a promising young upstart in LA’s Gang Task Force (Ramon Rodriguez) is paired with a notorious gang member (played by RZA) to bring down three of the city’s deadliest gangs — including one he has a past with.
TEXARKANA, Texas — A production company owned by television psychologist Dr. Phil has filed a federal lawsuit in Texas claiming improper use of an interview he conducted with the man who perpetrated a hoax on former Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o (MAN’-ty TAY’-oh).
Texas-based Peteski Productions is claiming in the suit filed Monday that Gawker Media committed copyright infringement by airing portions of Phil McGraw’s interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo (roh-NY’-uh too-ee-ah-suh-SOH’-poh).
The 22-year-old Tuiasosopo has said he created the online persona of Lennay Kekua, a nonexistent woman whom Te’o said he fell in love with despite never meeting her in person.
The suit claims one of Gawker’s properties, the sports blog Deadspin, aired part of the interview before a February broadcast of “Dr. Phil.”
A Gawker representative wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Daniel R. Schwarz: How I Wrote My Book Endtimes? Crisis and Turmoil at the New York Times, 1999-2009
Someone who attended one of my talks on my recent book Endtimes? Crisis and Turmoil at the New York Times, 1999-2009 told me that on his way to my talk, he ran into a friend who had decided not to attend and who said: “Why should I listen to an English professor talk about the New York Times? What can he know?” Since I am asked versions of this question all the time — even by readers of my book and subsequent articles — let me answer the question, “How could I write such a book from my perch in Ithaca, New York?”
I have had a relationship with the New York Times dating back to my childhood in the 1940s. Beginning with the numbers on the sports and stock pages, my father used the Times to teach me the joy of reading a daily newspaper and to interest me in national and international affairs.
As a lifelong reader of the Times, I was interested in how the Times was evolving in the face of the rising influence of the Internet and the changing business model in which advertisers were taking less space if any in the print paper.
I was concerned with the various crises that occurred during the period on which I was focused. Major ones which I discuss in my book include: 1) reporting without enough evidence that Wen Ho Lee was an atomic spy; 2) Jayson Blair’s bogus stories which set off a chain of events ending in the replacement of Howell Raines as Executive Editor; 3) most importantly, claiming — in large part through articles by Judith Miller — that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and thus giving cover for moderates to support the Iraq invasion; in fact Hussein was like the person who has a “Beware The Dog Sign” but has no dog; 4) failure to report domestic spying before the 2004 election, although the Times had the information; 5) and misreporting the Duke lacrosse episode and wrongly accusing team members of rape.
I was interested, too, in how the Times was functioning in a contentious political environment where no news source is considered authoritative, and where the hard right — and less frequently, the hard left — impugns the motives not only of elected officials, but also of the media.
I also wanted to bring the history of the Times up to date and link the period 1999-2009 to the past. I begin that process with an historical overview in Chapter One (Actually, before publication, I brought Endtimes? up-to-date through 2011).
After writing Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyon and the Making of New York City Culture, where I had discussed the influence of newspapers in the first half of the 20th century, in summer 2004 I thought — with something of my usual Don Quixote optimism — that I could write a book on the Times. It was not long before I realized that this might be pure folly because I lacked access to Times‘s decision-makers and I understood neither the complexities of the Times‘s transformation to the Internet nor the business model. So I set out to correct these large gaps in my preparation, relying on colleagues and my students to get me at least partially competent in understanding digital media.
Nor did I realize how difficult it would be to write about something quickly evolving and rapidly changing since in the past, in such books as critical discussions of Joyce, Conrad, and Stevens, and Reconfiguring Modernism: Explorations on the Relationship between Modern Art and Modern Literature and Imagining the Holocaust, I had written about published books, finished paintings, and released films.
I began the book at a tumultuous time in 2004 when the aforementioned Jayson Blair forgeries had triggered a series of events leading to the resignation of the Executive Editor Howell Raines and the appointment of Bill Keller as his successor.
Once it was known in the Times building that I had interviewed a few of the principals involved in that transition, and that I, although an outsider to the journalistic world, had the necessary preparation in terms of research and knowledge to write a book on the NY Times, others wanted to have their say. So one interview led to another. For example, when Raines knew I was talking to some of those instrumental in deposing him, he agreed to speak to me and invited me to his farm where we spoke for several hours.
A few people within the Times establishment vouched for my authenticity after speaking to me. One very senior person was especially helpful and answered every email within hours. The first Public Editor, Dan Okrent–who was my very first interview–helped get me the first of my two interviews with then Executive Editor Bill Keller shortly after he assumed that position. Most of those I wanted to interview among past and present figures agreed. I had help from Toby Usnik, who was Executive Director of Public Relations, for the Times, and Jonathan Landman, both of whom vouched for the fact–as did others I interviewed–that I had done the research and had the preparation to complete my project.
Part of what makes my book special is that I had these extended interviews with the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., all the living Executive Editors, other past luminaries, and many of the masthead figures and section editors as well as some reporters during the period I cover. The key was establishing that I as an outsider–an English Professor from upstate New York–knew what I was talking about and had done my homework.
All my interviews were not only exclusive one-on-one with the interviewees but were also taped and transcribed. Even experienced people soon seem to forget that they are being recorded, although I agreed to a request by a handful of interviewees to turn off the tape recorder when they wished. But only very rarely was I asked to do so. I invited an undergraduate along to almost every interview–taking a different one to New York almost every time I did a set of interviews– and the student had the experience of being part of the process and asking her or his own questions.
Yes, I had a few bumps in the interviewing process. Violating the New York Times Ethics policy, one former senior person invited me and my student to lunch and then stuck me with the bill, 80 per cent of which was his food and wine. Another exploded in an arrogant tantrum.
Jill Abramson, now Executive Editor, insisted that I submit questions in advance and chastised me when I went off topic. As a distinguished journalist, would she have put up with this when interviewing someone?
I am often asked where I think the Times is today, and I have written about this on occasion for Huffington. The Times is still the worst newspaper–in the digital age, we should say newsgatherer– in the world except for all the others, to borrow what Churchill said about democracy. In terms of staff size and coverage of international, domestic, and cultural news, the Times is the last newsgatherer standing. With its 25 or so foreign news bureaus, it is really the sole purveyor of in depth and extensive foreign news in the US. The Times excels at investigative reporting as well as analyses not only on its op-ed site and pages–but also in discussions by senior domestic and foreign reporters. Especially on the visual arts but also on music, film, and theatre, its cultural site and pages are excellent.
Once the vaunted paper of record, the Times has become in its print and digital version a hybrid magazine-newsgatherer. With a severe downturn in advertising revenue, its stock price at less than fifth of its high and its having paid no dividends in years, the New York Times Company is is flailing around for a business model, trying to sell everything from laminated pages and products with the Times logo to wine and cruises.
While I find much to praise in its value-added journalism–how to eat, organize your finances, raise your children, take care of your parents, plant your garden, choose your cosmetics. I worry that the current Times tries at times to be all things to all people, covering everything from video games to hip hop. Its Thursday and Sunday Styles section often oscillate between what I call Timeslite and Timestrash, and we find both at times in other places from the travel section to the business section to the Sunday Magazine and even the Sunday Review.
For the most part, the Times consistently sustains journalism at a higher level than its competitors. It remains to been seen whether the Times will find a business model to survive in anything like its present form.
Author of the recently published Endtimes? Crises and Turmoil at the New York Times, 1999-2009 (Excelsior Editions of SUNY Press), Daniel R. Schwarz is Frederic J. Whiton Professor of English and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University. He can be reached at email@example.com Follow Daniel R. Schwarz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/danRSchwarz